The man charged in connection with the alleged bus attack at a Laval, Que., daycare that killed two children and hospitalized six others has been found fit to stand trial.
Pierre Ny St-Amand appeared briefly Friday in court in Laval, just north of Montreal. Four court officers flanked the handcuffed and shackled bus driver as he entered the courtroom.
A psychiatric evaluation, which was ordered last week, found the 51-year-old man mentally able to participate in the criminal case. It was requested by his defence lawyer Julien Lespérance Hudon, who told the judge that his client was responsive at times, but at other times he didn’t respond or answer questions.
On Friday, Lespérance Hudon requested an evaluation of his client’s criminal responsibility — whether St-Amand was suffering from a mental disorder at the time of the incident. Crown prosecutor Karine Dalphond also told the court that some elements in the sealed psychiatric report justified the request for an assessment.
That request was accepted by the judge.
“(We) want more information about what happened on that morning,” Lespérance Hudon told reporters afterward.
The evaluation could take up to 30 days and will be carried out at a Montreal psychiatric hospital.
Unlike his court appearance one week earlier when he appeared to be in a trance-like state and limping, St-Amand was awake and alert on Friday. He remained silent as he stood before the judge.
Laval police arrested St-Amand at the scene on the morning of Feb. 8, when the fatal collision occurred. A city bus careened into the Garderie Éducative Ste-Rose around 8:30 a.m. during the busy drop-off period.
Witnesses at the scene subdued the driver until authorities arrived. St-Amand was charged with nine criminal offences the same day.
St-Amand is accused of two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of Maëva David, 5, and Jacob Gauthier, 4. He was also charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault.
He is expected to be back in court on March 28.
— with files from The Canadian Press